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ST STAND up to agree in some part with the Honourable
1 Gentleman who fpoke laft: if we are at present in any unhappy situation, and if it be but thought, by any Gentleman in this House, that that situation is any ways owing to the mismanagement of those in Administration, in my opinion, whoever thinks so, ought to move for this House's going into such an inquiry; they ought to move for the House's going into a Committee on the State of the Nation, and upon the foot of such an inquiry, I will willingly join issue with the Honourable Gentleman, or any other Gentleman in this House. Whenever the House shall resolve upon going into such a Committee, I promise, that so far as lies in my power, nothing shall be refused that is thought proper or necessary for giving the House all the information that can be wished or desired. But as that time is not yet come, I must think that the Motion now under confideration is very irregular, and seems calculated rather for giving Gentlemen an opportunity of declaiming against those, who have the honour of serving the Crown, than for procuring any proper information to the House, or any advantage to the country.
It is usual for some people to make Motions, rather to fix unpopular things on others, than to have any information for themselves : they make Motions in order to make a figure in the Votes, which are sent to all parts of the nation, and to ferve some particular ends of their own: when a negative is put upon any such Motion, they are then ready to cry out, “ we would have relieved you, we would have extricated you 6 from all the difficulties you labour under, but we were by 6 power denied the means of doing it,”. This is a piece of management; it is a fort of parliamentary play, which has always been practised by those who oppose the measures of Ad
ministration, ministration. I remember it as long as I remember Parliaments, and ilave by my own experience been acquainted with it : I can remember Motions made with no other view but to have a negative put upon thein ; and particularly at the beginning of a Seslion, the language amongst such Gentlemen has always been, “ We must give them no reft, but make “ Motion after Motion ; if they agree in any Motion we make, “ it will distress them; and if they put a negative upon every “ 'one, it will render them odious amongst the People.”
« This, I say, has always been the constant practice of those who are resolved, at any rate, to oppose the Administration: but I must take notice, that to say that any Motion in Parliament is refused by power, is, in my opinion, a very unparliamentary way of speaking: when any Motion is made, every Gentleman is at liberty to debate with freedom upon it, and to agree or disagree as he thinks reasonable: if it be rejected, it must be by a Majority of the House, and becomes an act of this House; and to say, that what is the act of the House, is an act of power, is not, I think, speaking in the language of Parliament."
Sir Robert Walpole, Jan. 23, 1734.
My honourable friend was pleased to inveigh very severely against the luxury and vice that reigns too generally amongit us. I know not from what this luxury and vice proceeds ; but proceed from what it will, I am sure it does not proceed from any example set by the Royal Family: for I am perfuaded that every Gentleman who hears me, is sensible that no nation was ever bleft with a Royal Family that has given such eminent instances of frugality and temperance, as the Family thać is now upon the Throne. If a People, Sir, grown wanton with liberty and riches, shall degenerate into luxury, is a Prince or his 'Ministers to be blamed for that? Or if the People is tainted with discontent and dissatisfaction, are we to endeavour to cure it by giving up the only means of restrain
ing them? Yet this, Sir, is the very thing for which some Gentlemen have argued so strenuously since the opening of this debate. It has been allowed on all hands, that had it not been for our standing forces, the nation must have, ere this time, run into confusion from that fpirit of dissatisfaction that has broke loose among the People. But, say some Gentlemen, that spirit is occafioned from the oppression of the Government. But they have not been pleased to give us any instance of such oppression; they have given us no instance of an invasion upon the liberty and property of any subject; they have not given us one instance of any encroachment of the military upon the civil power, or of one attack that has been made by the Administration to subvert the freedom of Parliament. There is nothing more common, Sir, than to raise a clamour upon the topics of bribery, corruption, and venality; and nothing more easy than to make the People believe, that when an Administration continues long in the same hands, it can only be by these means. But this is a misfortune that has attended the best Administrations in all ages and in all countries. The very success that Minister meets with, is improved by his enemies to his prejudice. If a Majority in this House concur with his measures, it must be the effects of corruption. If he has the favour of the Prince, he owes it to flattery and misrepresenting the state of the nation. Does the kingdom under his Administration enjoy a profound peace and extended commerce, this is attributed to the Minister's facrificing something still more valuable than these advantages in order to procure them. So that, Sir, the very well-being of a state, gives a handle to clamour against the Minister : whereas, in reality, his success in the Parliament may be owing to the justness of his measures; the favour he is in with his Prince, to his integrity; and the increase of the national wealth and power, to his vigilance and the firmness of his resolutions. Sir, I shall make no particular application of what I have said here; only one
thing I will be bold to affirm, that had the clamours that have been raised in Great-Britain these eighteen years past against the Administration been well-founded, we must before this time have been the most miserable, the most beggarly, and the most abject People under the sun.
Sir Robert Walpole, Feb. 3, 1738.
I THINK a man is an honest man, who votes according to what his conscience tells him the present situation of things requires; and an honest man, Sir, if he fees the circumstances which induced him to vote in favour of a Resolution last year altered, or if he finds that he himself has been mistaken in the apprehension of these circumstances; I say, Sir, an honest man will, in either of these cases, vote this Seffion directly contrary to what he voted before: if ever I voted for a standing army, Sir, in time of peace, it was when my confcience 'told me, that the preservation of our liberties required it. But, Sir, though at that time, perhaps, I was convinced that our keeping up a standing army for one year was necessary, it does not follow that I act inconsistently, if I don't vote for a perpetuity of that army. Therefore, though a Gentleman has voted for every Question, for every job of the Ministry; though his whole life has been but one continued vote on their sides; yet he ought neither to be ashamed nor afraid to oppose them, as soon as his own judgment, or the situation of things is altered. This is acting upon no other principles, Sir, but those of an honest man, and a lover of his country: and, as the distinction between Whigs and Tories is now in effect abolished, I hope foon to see our People know no other denominations of party amongst us besides those of Court and Country. The Honourable Gentleman talks of the establishment of the Government, and of the Administration ; but, Sir, I know of no Establishment, I know of no Government, I know of no Adminiftra, tion that ought to be kept up, but for the preservation of the
Liberties Liberties of the People: for it is not two-pence matter to me, whether the Prince's name under whom I am to be enslaved, is Thomas, James, or Richard; I am sure I shall never be enslaved under a George.
William Pulteney, Esq; Feb. 3, 1738.
Those employed in the Administration of affairs, are ale ways in the most ticklish situation. If they propose to make provisions against danger, by which provisions the People must be put to an expence, they then are charged with raising imaginary dangers, in order from thence to take an opportunity to load the People with new Taxes : and their misfortune is, that the more careful they have been in time past, the argument grows every day more strongly against them; becaufe people begin at last to believe, that the dangers which were never felt were imaginary, though in reality they were prevented only by the provisions that were made against them, However many people may come at last to be confirmed in this erroneous opinion, by which the Ministers may be at last refused those provisions that are actually necessary; and, if by such refusal, any signal misfortune should befal the nation, the Ministers would be sure to be loaded with the blame of it, though they had done all that was in their power to warn us of the danger.
I cannot really comprehend, Sir, what sort of information it is that Gentlemen want. Would they have his Majesty send to tell us, that there is a bloody war carried on by France, Spain, and Sardinia, against the Emperor ? Surely they do not expect that his Majesty should send us a particular Message, in order to acquaint us with a piece of news that is known to the whole world!
Sir Robert Walpole, Feb. 14, 1735.
· I was a little surprized to hear it said by the Honourable Į Gentleman who spoke laft, that this Motion's being opposed